Work has started on Whanganui's $50 million port revitalisation project.
A new port office is being painted and the Victory Shed is to be demolished because the river has undermined more than half of Wharf 3, which holds it up.
The port project has four parts.
In Provincial Growth Fund announcements on July 2 Whanganui District Council was given $12.5 million to add to its own $12.3m to repair wharves and buildings and get the port working.
Horizons Regional Council got a grant of $7.5m, half what is needed to repair the North and South moles.
Q-West Boat Builders wants to move its operation closer to the mouth and buy a hoist to get boats in and out of the water. It has a loan of $5.25m.
Te Ara Mahi/the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust wants to train people for marine-related jobs and has a grant of $1.5m.
Each has individually signed contracts with Government and is responsible for its own budget, Whanganui District Council projects director Rosemary Fletcher told council's property and community services committee meeting on August 11.
Future port operations will use about a third of the space used in the past, Fletcher said.
In the first three months of work the council will repair or demolish buildings, move a weigh station and design the repairs for wharf 3 following the Victory Shed demolition.
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"It's a dangerous situation. Almost half of the shed is without foundation," Fletcher said.
The shed at wharf 2 will also be "deconstructed" with useful materials salvaged.
The port's working area will then be fenced, with security cameras.
Horizons Regional Council needs at least 50,000 tonnes of large rocks to repair the moles. Its first choice for that rock is Waitahinga Quarry, reached from Rangitatau East Rd 18km from SH3.
There is an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of shellrock in a 576m-high bush-covered ridge there.
The quarry has an existing mining consent that runs out this year, and will have to be extended.
Reopening it would also need land use consents from both Whanganui and Horizons councils and consultation with "affected parties" is under way, Fletcher said.
Getting the land use consents could be aided by the presence of iwi on the project governance group, council's property manager Leighton Toy said.
After consents a commercial operator will be found, with the district council the quarry owner and Horizons the customer.
Repairing the moles is essential for port operation.
"If we don't sort the moles we may as well not do anything on the rest of the project," Whanganui mayor Hamish McDouall said.
Q-West Boat Builders is to occupy parts of the wharf 2 area. Cement silos there will be demolished in the second "massive" six-month tranche of work. It begins in September and includes the reconstruction of wharves 2 and 3.
The boatbuilding business will move into a 3000 square metre shed and hardstand there, and the vessel hoist it will purchase will operate there.
Q-West will enter into a 10-year lease of the area from the council.
The moles will also be repaired in the six months from September, Fletcher said.
Deputy mayor Jenny Duncan described the list of tranche 2 tasks as "ambitious".
The former Harbour Board building at 507 Heads Rd is to be refurbished for the use of Te Ara Mahi/the Whanganui District Employment Training Trust. It will train people for marine-related jobs.
More than 250 people will be needed in the first three years of port establishment, and within 10 years the port is expected to generate more than 500 new jobs.
Twenty-five of those jobs could be with Cloudy Bay Clams, a Blenheim company looking for a shore base to process surf clams it harvests off the Foxton coast.
Fletcher said Cloudy Bay was still interested in having a presence at the port, and the jigsaw of users will be "juggled" to ensure its shellfish processing plant is not impacted by dust from Coastal Bulk Shipping's cargos of dolomite lime.
A third tranche of work will start in 2021. By then dredging operations will have been completed and Horizons will move from mole repair to work on other river mouth structures.
Councillor Rob Vinsen asked whether information about the project was on the council's website. The website has a six-page draft plan dated May 2019.
There hasn't been much information for the public, Vinsen said, compared to the wealth of public information on the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Project.
"The public can be excused for being concerned about the port development," he said.
Fletcher said all the information from the parties needed to be put together in one "shopfront".
"The information there isn't yet cohesive. The communications issue needs to be addressed quickly and thoroughly," she said.
The project has a governance group, Te Puwaha, composed of Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall, Horizons chairwoman Rachel Keedwell, Ngā Tāngata Tiaki chairman Gerrard Albert and Whanganui Land Settlement Negotiation Trust chairman Ken Mair.
Councillor Josh Chandulal-Mackay asked whether minutes or reports from Te Puwaha's meetings would be made public. McDouall said he would circulate them if he was able to - but they would have no surprises.
There will also be a project steering group, which is being formed.
The interim project director, in an umbrella role, is Hayden Turoa.
The costs of the whole project were estimated in 2016, and have probably increased. Fletcher said Whanganui District Council was at the biggest financial risk of the four, but she believes it can be managed.
"At this point ours is the greatest risk, but I don't want to be alarmist about it. Initial indicators are that our exposure is not huge," she said.